Love letters vs. writing your own vows


I often hear brides and grooms speak of writing their own vows for their wedding ceremony. It’s a wonderful idea but unfortunately, it’s harder than it looks. Writing your own vows requires someone who can write a significant amount of ability and clarity. Which is the reason why I suggest couple to simply write “love letters” to each other with that moment in mind, and stick with the traditional vows for the ceremony. In reality, this idea allows the bride and groom to enjoy both their own words (in the form of a letter) and the marriage vows that most recognize as traditional vows.

Is hiring a video team to shoot your wedding necessary?


Not all brides even desire a wedding video of their ceremony before the wedding, but the biggest regret I hear is from brides after the wedding wishing they had a video to remember their biggest day ever.


  1. You can spend as much money as you want, but you don’t have to spend an arm and leg to create a video memory of your biggest day
  2. Your kids and grandchildren will LOVE watching it.  That seems like forever from now, but it goes fast
  3. You will watch it a week later and see things in the video you never saw when it happened.
  4. It will be good for your marriage to watch, enjoy and re-live your most romantic day ever.
  5. Photos will leave you with one impression, but video will fill in the details.

Include your children in the wedding ceremomy

include children in your wedding

In terms of blending families together through marriage, one of the best ways to make the children feel important is to include them in the ceremony itself. A common and appropriate way to do so is at the end by including them in the “sand ceremony”. The ceremony has to primarily be about the couple, but including the children in this way to good, healthy, sweet and kind.

Wedding Minister Prices (how much does a wedding pastor cost?)

Wedding rings and large bills of money
wedding costs; wedding pastor fee

The cost of a wedding minister is determined by many factors.  Hopefully, this list of factors below can help you understand why the range is between $100 and $500 per event.

$100 - $500 per wedding is a huge variation - why?!?!
  • The location.  Is it an hour outside of the city?  Is it hard to get to? (ex – is it in the mountains?)
  • His/ her experience.  Can they role with the punches?  When something goes badly, can they flex? Do they work well with the other vendors?  Do they bring a lot of ideas for you or do they do the same ceremony for all their weddings?
  • His / her style. Are they natural upfront of people?  Do they place the attention on themselves or on the couple?  Is their humor appropriate for the occasion?  Do they use humor or are they boring? Do they make you feel relaxed or nervous?
  • Month of the event.  Here in Phoenix, the “cheap” months are June – August becuase fewer weddings are taking place in the AZ heat… thus the price is less.
  • Day of the event.  Is it a Saturday after 2 or an off day / time?
  • High demand.  Are they in high demand by other brides / vendors?  Are they wanted by many because of the quality of their work?

Hope this helps – as you can see, their are many variables to how a wedding minister sets their prices.

Basic "supply and demand" principles apply to wedding ministers too.

Bigger is not always better

Less emphasis on entertaining the guests


Sometimes smaller weddings are way better than the bigger ones.  In fact, I’d rather be a part of something smaller and more intimate than large and crazy for these reasons:

  1. More meaningful
  2. More emotional
  3. Less emphasis on entertaining the guests
  4. More emphasis on the couple’s love and their story
  5. Less concern with time and schedule

I’m Engaged… NOW WHAT?? First five things to do after you are recently engaged

It’s easy to concentrate ONLY on the wedding and the many details that come with it. Remember, this is all about your relationship as a couple. Keep loving, talking, and caring for each other throughout the process.


There are FIVE THINGS you need to do first after you’re engaged:

  1. Create a budget.  Not just an overall budget, but a fairly detailed budget.  You will come in high on some and hopefully low on others,  but it’s a good start.  My advise is  to be realistic.  For example, you will not find a decent photographer for the entire event for $500.  Call around and find out what the going rate is for each of the vendors
  2. Determine what is and is not important to you before you start this process of looking for vendors.  For example, if live music during the ceremony is not important, do not let someone talk you into a $500 guitarist.  Shopping vendors is like grocery shopping, it’s easy to  experience impulse buys.
  3. Secure vendors in a logical order.  Resist the temptation to secure all the fun ones first (like the dress).  Know that the location venue, DJ, and caterer are going to be the most important in making the night successful.  Things like cake and flowers are certainly important, but rarely do you see guests walk away from a wedding talking only about the cake and flowers.
  4. Don’t underestimate the value if a seasoned wedding officiant.  He or she must come highly suggested and maybe even watch a past video of him/her for yourself.  Those who have t he mic can make or break the night more than others.
  5. Keep working on the relationship even while planning the wedding.  It’s easy to concentrate ONLY on the wedding and the many details that come with it.  Remember, this is all about your relationship as a couple.  Keep loving, talking, and caring for each other throughout the process.


pastor randy williams has been doing wedding for 25 years.  15 years in arizona.  he can be reached at

Marriage quote by Barbara Angelis


The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.


Wedding Bible Passage Options

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(awesome photo by David Orr of Phoenix, AZ)

Most common Bible passages for weddings (all NIV):

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?  12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Less common Bible passages for weddings (all NIV):

Micah 6:8

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I John 4: 7-19

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Soninto the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends,since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God;but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen,cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command:Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Romans 12:9-17

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Ephesians 4:32

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:12-14

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly love, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.